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Wilderness Adventures - Feb., Week Two/2012

This is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without the smog!
If you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes, exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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Check out the Picture of the Day.


18/02/2012 7:15 PM

The Pretty Weather

It has been really nice the last few days, and even though we've seen a lot of cloud, we've also seen our share of sunshine. This morning was beautiful with warm temperatures just around freezing and lots of sun. We walked to the gun range and back with the dogs just because it was so nice and I wanted to spend as much time as possible outside before going down to the other end of the lake. This afternoon it clouded over but it still made it to three degrees above freezing early afternoon and may have gone higher than that but I wasn't near a thermometer. Even though it was partially cloudy it was still pleasant although I wouldn't have wanted to be up on the Itchas this afternoon. I could see a wicked snow storm happening up there when I came down the road from the north end of the lake.
Last night the temperature started dropping really fast after supper and I thought, uh oh, dogs might have to go in the garage for the night, but then the temperature came back up to -6C or 21F and stayed that way until morning. Our temperatures have been pretty mild for this time of year and we're still only getting the odd skiff of snow. No case of Bobcat butt for my other half this year! He's only had to clear out the neighbours' and our driveway a couple of times and plowed the ice road just the odd time. It's sure nice for him compared to last year when he spent a good part of the winter clearing snow.
I went up to Nimpo today and everyone's smiling. Even people I don't know comment on the weather and just about everyone seemed delighted with the week and this winter. We've made it past the middle of February and that's always a milestone. Sunset is later, the sun warmer and the days being longer on both ends just makes a tremendous difference. We're all more likely to come out of hibernation mode. A bunch of people were out ice fishing yesterday and I even passed a couple cross country skiing on the lake when I crossed on the ice road this afternoon.
Andy went up on the mountain with three others Thursday and said conditions were wonderful. There had been fresh snow up there and in most places he said you could hardly tell that anyone had been up there on a snowmobile this winter. On many of the trails, they hadn't. Now that Lloyd is gone many of the people that ride up there aren't all that familiar with where some of his trails are so they don't get broken out until someone like Andy goes up there. Which means fresh powder and deep snow for the first ones through, although he said that the markers for a couple of the trails are fading away to the extent that even he had problems finding the one down the back side. So he and Henry will have to go up and re-mark them when the latter comes back in country, which should be fairly soon.
There are some upcoming events that I'll list here now since this is going to be a short blog. There will be a crib tournament at the hall in memory of Gloria Folsom on February 24 starting at 7:30 PM. The annual Snowmobile Poker Run is on March 10, and everyone leaves from the Nimpo Lake Public Boat Launch at 10:00 AM prompt! So anyone participating will want to be there before then because no one is waiting. It just drags the day out too much if early participants have to wait for late ones. There will be a bingo at the Hall in April to raise money for the Community Association and plans are already under way for the Annual Canoe Race in May. I noticed the Ice Off book was on the counter up at the Nimpo store so I'm not sure when the deadline is but if you'll be wanting to get your guesses in for before long. The charge for that is $5 per guess.
15/02/2012 4:05 PM

Happy Belated Valentine!

I realize it's late, but happy belated Valentine's Day, everyone!
We were in town all day yesterday and didn't get back until after supper so it wasn't exactly what you would call a 'special' day for us. On the other hand, we got to spend over six hours driving time together so that's probably pretty romantic. :-)
We got really lucky with weather yesterday. The roads were good with ice on this end but virtually clear from east of Tatla Lake, on. There's probably less than six inches of snow in Tatla that has accumulated over the winter, and that's in the shade. There's probably only about two inches around Alexis Creek and next to nothing in Williams Lake. It hit -22C or -8F yesterday morning but warmed up to around freezing by the time we left Williams Lake and was around that when we got home. The temperature has really been dropping at night but that sun has a lot of power during the day, not that we really saw a lot of it today. It was a little cloudy with filtered sun so it warmed up to three degrees above freezing but I think it would have been much warmer if the sun had been able to break through. Still, no complaints. There are lots of smiling faces around this winter so I'm not the only one happy with the weather so far.
Andy's going snowmobiling tomorrow so I guess we'll see what conditions are like up on Trumpeter. I'm taking a pass. First of all, I'm babying my back this year, and I haven't heard that the snow is all that soft higher up. It sounds like it already has that pack we usually see around March. Nice for not getting stuck because you can generally go just about anywhere, but it can be a little rough on the back and I hear the trail from Dot Island got torn up pretty badly over the weekend.
Ted sent me photos that he took last week when he and some guys went up to Trumpeter. He said that nearly a foot of fresh powder fell the night before they went up so though the surface was firm underneath, it was still nice riding on top.
Wilderness Rim had their annual ice cutting party this past weekend but it seemed awfully quiet. Usually you see a lot of snowmobiles racing over the lake heading that way but either I missed it or there just wasn't anyone from this end going. I think I was painting trim boards on Saturday so we didn't even think to drop by that way.
We got about an inch of snow last week and a couple of very small skiffs since then. Just enough to show fresh animal tracks while out walking the dogs. There's supposed to be a good storm coming in from the Pacific that may hit tomorrow but it's hard to determine from the radar if we're even going to see any moisture.
Andy cleared the neighbour's driveway the other day and he was really surprised at how much snow there was on it. It hasn't been cleared all winter, it's not exposed to wind and very little is exposed to sun. As a result, it's a pretty fair gauge of how much snow would be laying on the ground if sun and wind didn't come into play. In the deepest spots he estimates that there's 14 inches of snow. Enough to go over the top of your boots and a lot more than I actually thought there was. It's a far cry from what we had on the ground last year and is definitely less than normal so far this year. We might still get more snow but it's looking less and less likely that we'll see a big dump. Although I am knocking on wood as I type. Still, what's the worst that could happen from here on in? Two and a half more months of winter is pretty much the most we have now. I love it!
It's not so lovely for the loggers around Williams Lake. A couple of mills have put all their truckers on graveyard shift and the trucks have to be in by 1:00pm. Going to work at 10:30 at night and not home until well after daylight is an ugly shift in anyone's books. I always tried to land straight nights on any job I worked, but I avoided the graveyard shift like the plague. I didn't like it when I did have to do it. I always felt like a zombie in the morning but couldn't go to sleep because the sun was shining. I don't envy anyone having to drive during those hours.
I borrowed a new computer a couple of days ago because I was offered the opportunity to design and produce another tourism guide. Since my regular computer is still down in Kelowna I quaffled a bit to the people who conceptualized the product, then decided to heck with it, I would find a way to do it. I spent a day and a half just getting some programs on the borrowed computer but mostly downloading an antivirus and in doing updates for that and for the Windows operating system. It's a great source of annoyance to me that software producers create such sloppy work that the files for anything on the 'Net now are huge and take forever to download. No one bothers to take into account now those people like us in North America that are not on Broadband. While our satellite hookup is much faster than dial up, go over only 15mb and you get knocked back to dial up speed. The Hughs satellite system is so overloaded with users now that it barely moves at peak times. Unfortunately, unlike most people in urban areas, our options are limited. So downloads and updates that might normally take most people an hour or two to complete can take us a day or two. I find it amazing that I can build a fully interactive, colorful webpage that loads in seconds because I built it to be fast, and yet these dorks that create software updates for a living can't manage to do so efficiently.
Unfortunately by the time I got the computer ready to go and was ready to let the tourism association know that I was back in business, the job had been given to someone else. It's crazy how much we've come to depend on computers, and yet they let us down on a regular basis. Switching back and forth between computers is extremely confusing as well, especially when you're dealing with four different operating systems. While not drastically different in how they operate, there are still enough differences between Windows 98, 2000, XP, and Windows 7 that I really have to stop and think sometimes about where things are. Most people upgrade their computer to a newer OS, learn it, and never look back. Or at least they don't once they've mastered the new OS after some air turning blue frustration. But having to move back and fourth between the different operating systems, finding my files, sometimes working with older software, etc., is not easy at all. Or it isn't for me and I suspect that it wouldn't be for a lot of people. I've taught some people how to use their computers and have seen their level of understanding so I'm pretty sure most folks would not like doing what I am. I know I don't!
It's also frustrating that as computer development has moved forward, it leaves an expensive array of software and add ons behind it. I have three computers sitting here right now and no one of them work entirely, while the fourth languishing down in the Okanagan awaiting repairs has two virtual computers on it as well as Windows 7. I also have five printers sitting in my office, one of which I just purchased and isn't out of the box yet because I no longer have a computer that it will work with. Printers that I have used with my crippled Windows 2000 computer are slowly wearing out and new printers don't work with 2000 anymore. So I have three printers that won't work with Windows 7 and two that won't work with anything older than XP and Windows 7. I look around my office strewn with monitors, printers and towers and sometimes I'm about ready to give up. It certainly seems like the sane option at times. Add to that several thousands of dollars of software that I've bought over the years now collecting dust, because it no longer works on the progressively newer computers, and it makes you wonder why anyone would get into the computer business in the first place. While computers are supposed to make things easier, so far, I actually haven't seen full evidence for that. On the other hand, if you want to spend your life testing your patience, computers are definitely the way to go. Talk about Buddha!
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's posts at February Week One
.


Anahim Lake Highway cam looking West.




The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip of the iceberg, so join me!


Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Blue coated rider on sled.
 
Rider in red and grey on sled.
 
View of frosty trees, house, and frozen lake.
 
Bright blue winter skies in February.
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